Inland Northwest runners recount marathon bombing

UPDATED: MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2013, 5:51 P.M.

More than 40 people from the Inland Northwest were signed up to run in Monday’s Boston Marathon.

Most have been confirmed as safe, and new reports from family and friends have been arriving at the newsroom throughout the afternoon and evening.

Here’s a breakdown of the number of runners from some nearby towns, according to the marathon’s website:

 37 from Spokane (27 finished)

 4 from Spokane Valley (3 finished)

 3 from Pullman (3 finished)

 2 from Coeur d’Alene (1 finished)

 1 from Liberty Lake (1 finished)

Mike Lauffer, of Spokane, had finished the course and was about four or five blocks from the finish line when the bombs exploded, he said.

“It was quite loud, even at the distance we were,” he said. “It was probably the loudest thing I’ve ever heard.”

He couldn’t see smoke or hear people screaming, he said, and he continued to walk toward the subway with four others, his friends and family.

People coming out of the subway tunnel, however, told the group it was closed. At that point, they were told about the bombs, he said.

Lauffer, 47, who finished the course in 3:34 hours, said it was another five to 10 minutes after the explosions until he saw and heard the many police, fire and emergency medical vehicles streaming toward Boylston Street.

Eventually his group got a cab to their hotel outside the city.

His first thought, he said, had been for the safety of his friends and family. It was with “much relief” that he discovered all were unharmed, Lauffer said.

James Richman, who is an assistant city attorney for the city of Spokane, finished the race in 3:12 hours and was with his wife a few blocks away when he heard the first explosion. He thought at first it was something dropping inside a nearby warehouse.

They didn’t know it was a bomb until they got to a subway station where people were crying and spreading the news. They left the train after one stop because the subway system was shutting down. They walked back to their hotel next to the Massachusetts General Hospital – where many victims were taken. Security is extremely tight around the hospital, he said.

He said he has checked in with several people from Spokane and hasn’t heard of any injuries.

This was his first time running the marathon. He said the mood was extremely happy throughout the course until the explosion.

“It’s just stupid and sad,” he said.

Piper Peterson, of Spokane, was just about to round the corner to the block where the bombs detonated, she said.

“If it hadn’t been for a hamstring cramp (earlier in the race), I would have been right down there,” she said.

The 66-year-old was running her fourth Boston Marathon. That knowledge of the area helped her as she tried to make her way back to her hotel.

“I’ve never seen so many police and SWAT team people,” she said.

The street where the bombs went off now looks like a hurricane went through, she said. “It’s a deserted couple of streets, except for lots of police.”

Said Peterson, after learning that two bombs had detonated, “I was hoping whoever did it might have gotten hurt. It’s sick.”

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